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Terrorism & Security

Russian warship wins shootout with Somali pirates, rescues sailors

A Russian warship rescued 23 Russian sailors at dawn today. The men were taken hostage Wednesday when their oil tanker was hijacked by Somali pirates.

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The EU Naval Force has claimed that its anti-piracy measures are proving effective in the Gulf of Aden. And while there have been fewer attacks by Somali pirates during the first quarter of this year than during the same time period last year, the pirates are expanding their activities beyond the Gulf of Aden into the Indian Ocean, reports The Christian Science Monitor. Pirates are reportedly holding more than 20 foreign ships with almost 400 sailors.

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Experts say that the solution to Somali piracy is not in European naval patrols, nor in armed security patrols on commercial ships, but in helping Somalis to create their first stable and credible government in 20 years. Lacking a government that can enforce the rule of law in Somali cities and ports, Somali pirates will continue to operate with impunity.

Obstacles to prosecuting captured pirates are harming anti-piracy efforts, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many pirates arrested in international waters have been sent to Kenya for trial in accordance agreements between Nairobi and American and European navies. But the Kenyan government recently refused to host the trials of more pirates.

The Journal adds:

The United Nations is trying to get different countries to share the legal burden. Last week, the United Nations Security Council signed a resolution urging countries to pass tougher antipiracy laws. The council said it would consider setting up some kind of international or regional tribunal reserved for piracy cases, as well as a place to jail convicts….

When there isn't enough evidence for a trial, or the apprehending navy isn't sure where to take them, the men are often returned to Somalia. The officials confiscate weapons, grappling hooks or other pirate tools. But because Somalia's central government is too weak to provide law enforcement, the men are free to return to piracy.

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